Thursday, April 16, 2015

Chocolate and Vanilla Polka Dot Bundt - #BundtBakers

This month's Bundt Bakers is a particularly fun one - hidden surprises. I've been meaning to do a Bundt with a filling or another type of surprise since the second month of Bundt Bakers. However, each month, I've found an excuse to go in another direction. When Anshie chose this month's theme, I was excited. I had a million ideas! I couldn't wait to bake. However, I knew that I had two other cakes to make this month so I needed to keep things simple. The simplest thing to do would be to pull out my never-used Babycakes Cake Pop Maker and bake a polka dot Bundt. Easy, right? Not when my brain is involved.

Flavours? Colours? I have a health-related anniversary next week so I'm big on all things teal (and grey) right now. But what about that pesky brown ring the cake pop maker is likely to leave? What about the batter itself? If the batter isn't thick enough, the balls might float. Same batter for the cake and balls? I was driving myself and my friends crazy. Eventually, I just had to stop and bake. Chocolate balls. Vanilla for the rest.

The first thing that I noticed when I took my cake out was that all my careful ball placement was for naught. The little bastards floated! Then I tried to remove the cake from the pan and it just would not move. I stuck a spatula in. Tried a table knife. Took a shot of rum. No movement! But at least I was laughing and quoting movie lines.

I eventually got it out and poured over a fudge sauce. While this sauce is absolutely delicious on cake (and ice cream!), I do not recommend pouring it over your cake before serving. It causes a bit of a mess when it's time to slice the cake because it doesn't set like a glaze or ganache. I got chocolate everywhere while slicing. But I'm also a bit of a klutz so there's that. I used it because I was hiding the part where my cake stuck and I really wanted that sauce. Nothing else. I'm not completely satisfied with my polka dots. I wish they hadn't moved! However, them moving led to each slice being different. Some showed one dot, some two, and others showed three.That, I did like.

But enough of my rambling. You, dear reader, have lots of hidden surprises to look at today. Scroll down to see the list!

Chocolate and Vanilla Polka Dot Bundt
Recipe by: Kelly   Adapted from: Babycakes Cake Pops Instruction Manual
Yield: One 9 inch Bundt

Cake Balls
3/4 cup all purpose flour
1/2 cup sugar
3 tablespoons cocoa
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup buttermilk
3 tablespoons oil
1 egg
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1/4 cup hot coffee
Vanilla Cake
3/4 cup butter
1 1/2 cup sugar
3 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla
2 1/4 cup flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
3/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup milk

Cake Balls - Whisk together flour, sugar, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a bowl. Add buttermilk, oil, egg and vanilla. Blend until smooth. Add the coffee and continue mixing until the coffee is evenly incorporated. 
Fill each reservoir of the cake pop maker with a tablespoon of batter. Bake 3 1/2 - 4 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Cool completely. 

Vanilla Cake - Preheat oven to 350. Thoroughly grease and flour a 12 cup Bundt pan.
Cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in eggs one at a time then add the vanilla. In a separate bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder and salt. Starting and ending with the flour mixture, alternate adding the flour mixture and milk to the butter mixture. 

Add approximately a cup of batter to the bottom of the pan and then add a third of the cake balls. Cover the balls completely with about another cup of batter then add another layer of balls. Cover those balls and then add a third layer of balls. Cover with the remaining batter. 

Bake for 40 - 45 minutes or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean. Be careful though, you may hit an already cooked cake ball when you test!
  • It's probably best to under-cook the balls slightly. However, removing undercooked balls from the cake pops maker is not the easiest! In lieu of that, I'd probably soak the balls in some sugar syrup the next time. They weren't dry but I could tell they were more done than the rest of my cake. Plus, sugar syrup would make my balls heavier and reduce the floating.
  • I'll post the fudge sauce and link to it separately.  


#BundtBakers is a group of Bundt loving bakers who get together once a month to bake Bundts with a common ingredient or theme. Follow our Pinterest board right here. Links are also updated each month on the BundtBakers home page. We take turns hosting each month and choosing the theme/ingredient. The theme for April is "Hidden Surprise" - Bundt cakes with fillings or stuffing. There was no constraint on filling and flavor choices.The only requirement was that the cake be filled/stuffed inside. Anshie from SpiceRoots was our host for this month. If you are a food blogger and would like to join us, just send Stacy an email with your blog URL to
 post signature

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Folar (Portugiese Easter Bread) - #BreadBakers

Oh don't look at the title like that. Yes, it is an Easter bread. Yes, Easter was over a week ago. What? You don't start planning your Easter bread basket a year in advance? You should. Plus, there's no rule that says you can't eat these loaves all year round. With so many traditional Easter loaves to choose from, it probably would take you a year to try them all anyway. Be sure to check out the list below - you have a lot of baking to do!

Camilla challenged us to make a holiday bread (Easter or Passover) from around the world or one that celebrated spring. I chose folar from Portugal. Folars vary by region. They typically have some combination of lemon, cinnamon and anise. I even came across one that was multiple layers of dough separated by cinnamon and sugar - like a huge cinnamon roll. I really wanted to make that one but I'm trying to tame my sweet tooth (read: I already had lots of cake to eat).

Folar Doves
 I also really loved the shape of this one - the round boule, the cross and the egg in the middle. The egg is traditionally deep brown (dyed with onion skins). However, since I've never dyed an egg before, I thought I'd borrow from other Easter traditions and use a brightly coloured egg. And look at that dove! (Oh, you didn't realise it was a dove? That's OK.) I won't get into how long it took me to get the hang of that simple knot. I won't even tell you that I could only do two of three. I just gave up and did a braided circle like one the Italian Easter breads.

Folar - Portuguese Easter Bread
Recipe by: Kelly   Adapted from: Tertulia de Sabores
Yield: 2 medium loaves

500 grams all purpose flour
100 grams sugar
11 grams (1 tablespoon) yeast
1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
1 1/2 teaspoons anise seeds
1 teaspoon salt 
75 grams butter, softened 
2 eggs
134 grams milk 
1 or 2 dyed eggs
Raisins for dove eyes
1 egg plus 1 tablespoon of water for an egg wash

Combine flour, sugar, yeast, cinnamon, anise, and salt. Mix in butter, eggs and milk then knead to form a soft dough. 

Cover and let rise until doubled or refrigerate overnight. 

After dough has doubled, divide into two equal pieces. 

Two Boules: Remove 50 grams from each piece and roll the larger pieces into tight balls. Roll the 50 gram pieces into long ropes approximately 24 inches long.You want a rope that when divided in two, stretches across the dough with enough left to tuck under the dough to completely secure the egg. 
Make a small depression into the center of each ball and place a dyed egg. Cut each rope into two equal pieces and form a cross over the eggs to secure them. Secure the ends of the rope under the ball of dough.
One Boule and Three Doves: Take one half of the dough and divide into three equal pieces. Roll out to a rope of approximately 10 inches. Flatten the rope and follow this video for shaping.
Cover the boules and doves and let them rest at room temperature until they have almost doubled and the dough is puffy.

Meanwhile, preheat oven to 375 F . When dough is ready, brush with egg wash and bake the boules for 30 minutes or until golden. the doves will be ready within 20 minutes.
I used cranberries for the eyes of my doves and the eyes were barely discernible against the bronzed dough. Definitely use raisins. 
I used this bread for one of the grilled cheese sandwiches that I posted ~ two weeks ago. 


Here's our International Easter/Passover/Spring Bread Basket

#BreadBakers is a group of bread loving bakers who get together once a month to bake bread with a common ingredient or theme. You can see all our of lovely bread by following our Pinterest board right here. Links are also updated after each event on the Bread Bakers home page. We take turns hosting each month and choosing the theme/ingredient. This month Camilla at Culinary Adventures with Camilla has chosen breads from around the world that are traditional for Easter, Passover or Springtime. If you are a food blogger and would like to join us, just send an email with your blog URL to Stacy at

post signature

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Spicy Pear Grilled Cheese - Foodie Extravaganza

The grilled cheese sandwich. That classic sandwich that somehow, I had never had before. Sure, I've tossed bread and cheese into a toaster oven or slapped some cheese between slices of toasted bread. However, I have it on good authority, that those were not grilled cheese sandwiches. A little history note - while J Kenji Lopez-Alt insists that a grilled cheese must be a closed sandwich, the earliest ones may have actually been open-faced.

Now, I must admit that when Laura chose grilled cheese for this month's Foodie Extravaganza, my brain froze for more than a second. It's a grilled cheese sandwich. How many ways can one make it? Clearly, the answer to that is several. I'm been craving spicy food lately so I immediately decided on pepper Jack cheese. Sriracha "naturally" followed. Pear joined the party for a lovely sweet contrast.

I made two versions with two different breads - one is this "English Muffin" bread. However, the main difference is that I buttered the inside of my second sandwich with a butter-sriracha mix for more heat. It made the sandwich a wee bit greasy but extra delicious. You can skip the butter-sriracha. However, I would recommend drizzling some sriracha over your pears for an extra kick, if you really like it spicy. If your pears aren't very sweet, you could even drizzle a little honey for more of the sweet and spicy contrast.

I really really enjoyed my first grilled cheese and can't wait to make more. Looking for inspiration for your own grilled cheese sandwiches? It's Grilled Cheese Month, after all. If so, check out the list below. There are lots of drool-worthy sandwiches to suit everyone's taste.

Spicy Pear Grilled Cheese
Recipe by: Kelly  
Yield: 1 sandwich

2 slices of bread
1/2-1 tablespoon butter, optional
1 teaspoon sriracha, optional
2 oz cheese (I used an ounce of Pepper Jack plus a four cheese mix)
1/4 pear, thinly sliced
2 teaspoons mayonnaise
1 teaspoon sriracha

Heat a pan over medium-low heat.

If buttering the inside of the sandwich, mix together 1/2 - 1 tablespoon of butter (depends on the size of your bread) and a teaspoon of sriracha. Spread this evenly over the insides of both slices of bread. 

Top with half the cheese, pear slices, then the rest of the cheese. Top sandwich with the second slice of bread. 

Mix together mayonnaise and sriracha. Evenly spread half of the mixture over the top of the sandwich. Carefully lift the sandwich, invert and place mayo-sriracha side down in the heated pan. Spread the remaining half of the mayo-siracha on the remaining bare side. 

Cook until the underside is toasted. Turn and cook on the other side until it is also toasted and the cheese has melted. 

Eat immediately.
  • Drizzle extra sriracha and honey inside your sandwich, if desired. 
  • I loved the mayo-sriracha combination but you could use all butter in your sandwich. 

Foodie Extravaganza is where we celebrate obscure food holidays or cook and bake together with the same ingredient or theme each month. This month we celebrate National Grilled Cheese Month by serving up sandwiches.

Posting day is always the first Wednesday. If you are a blogger and would like to participate in the next Foodie Extravaganza, just go to our Facebook page to join. We would love to have you!

Follow our Foodie Extravaganza Pinterest board for past events and more deliciousness!

post signature